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The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate [Paperback]

Professor Andrew E. Dessler , Edward A. Parson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate 2.5 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

19 Jan 2006
In this accessible primer, Dessler and Parson combine their expertise in atmospheric science and public policy to help scientists, policy makers, and the public sort through the conflicting claims in the climate-change debate. The authors explain how scientific and policy debates work, summarize present scientific knowledge and uncertainty about climate change, and discuss the available policy options. Along the way, they explain WHY the debate is so confusing. Anyone with an interest in how science is used in policy debates will find this discussion illuminating. The book requires no specialized knowledge, but is accessible to any college-educated general reader who wants to make more sense of the climate change debate. It can also be used as a textbook to explain the details of the climate-change debate, or as a resource for science students or working scientists, to explain how science is used in policy debates.


Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (19 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521539412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521539418
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 17.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 820,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'… there is a real need for a comprehensive book on climate change … The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change is it. It does exactly what the title and subtitle promise, providing insights into the causes and effects of the contributing meteorological phenomena and into why it has been so hard to get consensus among governments … copies should be shipped to anyone who doubts the reality of climate change, starting with presidents in denial.' New Scientist

'… requires no specialised knowledge, but is accessible to any educated general reader who wants to make more sense of the climate change debate. It also sheds light on how science is used in policy debates.' The Chemical Engineer

'Each of the key aspects of global climate change is covered, with up-to-date and well-referenced information throughout. Its impressive breadth and the provision of succinct overviews of source material in the further reading sections of each chapter mean that teachers, lecturers and researchers will all find this book a useful starting point for in-depth study. There are now numerous taught masters courses on 'global change issues', and this book constitutes a must-have addition to their reading lists. … read the book in its entirety - it is well worth it.' Times Higher Education Supplement

'This is an excellent way into the subject for the beginner … one of the most lucid and readable introductory accounts of the topic that has been published in some while. As such it should be seen as a 'must-buy' and an essential addition to the library.' TENews

'This is a book which all scientists and the educated general public should read and reflect upon before it is too late to halt the apparently inevitable progress to Armageddon.' Chromatographia

'… a useful compendium of the current debates in the science and politics of climate change … succinct and consistent book … it should become a key reading and teaching source in geography and environmental sciences. It can also be valuable to doctoral students and senior researchers interested in learning about climate change science and politics … a book worth having on one's shelf.' Environmental Sciences

'As more and more extreme weather events around the globe are being associated with climate change, it is sometimes difficult to be able to see the wood for the trees, but this book takes the reader very clearly through the 'maze' of claims and counter-claims. … if only government leaders would read, digest and follow up some of the suggestions in the last chapter, there would be optimism that the problem can be overcome. As always with Cambridge University Press, the book, which is illustrated with diagrams, charts and boxes, is impeccably produced, and is an absolute 'must' for every reader of this journal.' The International Journal of Meteorology

'Written by an atmospheric scientist and a law professor with extensive public policy experience, the book efffectively tackles the rough-and-tumble intersection of science and policy that has led to confusion and inaction … The scholarly value of [the book] is indisputable. Dessler and Parson independently possess significant authority on both the science and the politics of climate change. Their treatment of the subject illustrates the complexity of the problem with remarkable ease and clarity … the carefully thought-through recommendations make this book critical reading for policymakers … considering action on the issue.' Maria Ivanova, The College of William and Mary

'… coverage and presentation of climate science and policy [is] commendable … a good candidate for a primer for multidisciplinary classes devoted to climate policy …' Randall M Wigle, Wilfrid Laurier University

'… both insightful and engaging … the book is also highly readable and well suited to reach a wide audience. That's good, because the gaps in understanding between scientists, policy makers, journalists, and the public remain a major barrier to the adoption of sensible responses to the problem. Dessler and Parson's book will help because it provides us with a sound and thoughtful guide to the climate change debate.' American Meteorological Society

'The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the debate by Andrew Dessler and Edward Parson is an excellent attempt at deconstructing the confusion that surrounds the climate-change debate. This reviewer has been waiting some time for a book such as this to appear.…The Science and politics of climate change are brought together quite seamlessly,…Dessler and Parson's book is a must for those who want to move beyond the rhetoric and understand the relationship between climate science policy, and also for those seeking an interdisciplinary outlook on the management of global environmental issues.' Times Higher Education Supplement

'This book will be most useful to undergraduates and post-graduates in the fields of environmental science, sustainability and international politics. Each of the key aspects of global climate change is covered, with up-to-date and well referenced information throughout. its impressive breadth and the provision of succinct overviews of source material in the further reading sections of each chapter mean that teachers will all find this book a useful starting point for in-depth study. … as a primer that brings together global climate- change science and politics it succeeds very well indeed.' Times Higher Education Supplement

'This important book will be as valuable to informed lay persons, as to policy makers in government, industry and the wider community. While this is a political book, it is also a valid general primer about the science-policy interface. Furthermore, it serves as a model of how to clarify complex problems for lay persons through careful logic, wise choice of supporting literature, consistent definition of technical terms and clear writing.' Ecoscience

'The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change is a fascinating hybrid of science and policy directed at a broad or nonspecialist audience that may not be well versed in the ongoing climate change controversy. … Overall Dessler and Parson succeed in making both science and policy accessible to a wide readership. As someone working at the interface of science and policy, I could comfortably recommend this book to friends and colleagues. The book - which is well illustrated with easy-to-grasp figures and which has summary tables provided at several key junctures - would also make an excellent resource for a high school or college-level survey course in either environmental studies or public policy.' EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union

Book Description

Combining their expertise in atmospheric science and public policy, the authors present an accessible description of the scientific and political issues involved in the climate-change debate. This introductory primer will help students and the general public to sort through the conflicting claims made by scientists, politicians and the media.

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First Sentence
Of all the environmental issues that have emerged in the past few decades, global climate change is the most serious, and the most difficult to manage. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By JBOZE
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent way into the subject for the beginner. There's some very sound science, most of which is agreed upon and a good understanding of how policy making works, or doesn't. The two ideas are brought together along with a discussion as to how we might proceed. One of the strengths of the book is the frequent use of boxes to put alternative viewpoints and summaries to show where we are in the debate. The overall effect is one of the most lucid and readable introductory accounts of the topic that has been published in some while. As such it should be seen as a 'must-buy' and an essential addition to the library.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for your collection 8 Aug 2006
By JBOZE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent way into the subject for the beginner. There's some very sound science, most of which is agreed upon and a good understanding of how policy making works, or doesn't. The two ideas are brought together along with a discussion as to how we might proceed. One of the strengths of the book is the frequent use of boxes to put alternative viewpoints and summaries to show where we are in the debate. The overall effect is one of the most lucid and readable introductory accounts of the topic that has been published in some while. As such it should be seen as a 'must-buy' and an essential addition to the library.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work 25 Feb 2007
By Stefan Klose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
How does science work? And how do politics work? How does it all fit together with the data that has come from various sources all over the planet - and is climate change real? All these questions are addressed in an easy read, very neutral. The authors take a firm stand on the issue finally, from a scientific perspective, and the result is clear: Yes, it is real, and it is coming at us, while politicans are incapable and totally overwhelmed by the problem. It is a new kind of threat nobody can deal with, thus we ignore it. Too much for us. Surprising to read from two high profile, Ex-NASA scientists from the US themselves. Alerting at the same time. A must read to be up to date with the debate or quickly get an overview. Stefan Klose - University of Ulm - Germany
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, brief introduction to the science and politics 10 May 2008
By R. Michaels - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In my effort to learn about climate change, I found it admittedly very difficult to read the lengthy IPCC reports (e.g. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis), so it's wonderful to have Dessler's and Parson's short, inexpensive book to give a guide to the findings of the IPCC, as well as to explain some of the politics in a calm, rational way. I think that any citizen genuinely interested in this topic should try to become familiar with the actual IPCC findings.

What is the IPCC ? What have they concluded ? How uncertain are the conclusions ? How have the policy makers reacted ? What are the scientific criticisms ? These issues are explained in this nice compact book. A very good aspect of this book is that it conforms to the standard practice of scientific argument: it shows data, describes theories (models), discusses how the theory fits data, explains the uncertainties, and (importantly) cites references. When looking into this subject, I suggest the reader beware of books or articles that are primarily "expert opinion" with no, or very little, reference to actual data.

The only reasons I didn't give 5 stars are: a) I would have liked it if the book could have covered the 2007 edition of IPCC report (maybe they will update it ?), and b) The book has a somewhat dry, academic style which probably will not make it very popular with a mass audience, hence limiting it's impact. At least it's short, though. Perhaps when they update it they can bring in a science writer to improve the style.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Global Warming:Reality 19 Nov 2009
By Michael S. Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dessler and Parson have provided a welcome contribution on the subject of climate change. It is, of course, a nightmare for the climate change denial folks. Clearly written and making the critical distinction between science and political decision making, the authors lay out the case for a rapid response to a looming disaster. The book provides a counter balance for the nonsense being spewed forth by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Joanne Nova and Senator Orrin Hatch. It will not change the minds of politicians whose campaigns are funded by the energy industry, but it should sway the opinion of a literate public with its compelling arguments: 'We have met the enemy and he is us.'
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful guide to Global Climate Change 10 Nov 2006
By R. Aegerter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a good very good review of science and policy of Global Climate Change without bias esotheric science or paragraphs going nowhere.

Recomended to the reader who wants to make up their own mind. The book will find a use in introductory survey coures in High School and College.

More graphs and diagrams would have been helpful, although they are available to those scanning the internet.
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